Patterson High School Student raises hand during class.

BALTIMORE – Overall, 39 schools in the Baltimore City Public Schools (City Schools) system improved the number of stars earned on the Maryland State Department of Education’s (MSDE) annual Maryland School Report Card in 2023. 

City Schools outpaced the state in star rating improvement: 27% of City Schools improved compared to 8% of schools across the state. In addition, the proportion of 3-, 4-, and 5-star schools in City Schools increased from 25 percent to 35 percent.  The progress included 19 schools that advanced from one star to two stars, while two campuses - Baltimore School for the Arts and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute - earned the maximum of five stars.  

The improvement in school star ratings builds upon similar growth shown on other state reports, such as the Maryland Comprehensive Assessment Program (MCAP) results in math and literacy. The results are proof that investments to address key performance areas before and after the pandemic are yielding results. 

“Our positive results are more than numbers on a spreadsheet; they indicate a rapid growth trajectory that outpaces our state. They are proof of the collective effort and investment of our community to accelerate the improvement of our student outcomes and schools,” said Dr. Sonja Brookins Santelises, chief executive officer of City Schools. “The quality of our schools - as indicated by increased stars - is improving, which equals better options for our students and families. We still have more progress ahead, but these results, paired with other positive indicators in attendance, literacy, and math, verify that we are on the right track.” 

Star Ratings 

Each year, the Maryland Report Card includes a star rating for each school in the state. **Schools earn from one to five stars yearly based on critical academic, college readiness, and attendance measures. 

City Schools recorded an improvement in star ratings, reducing the number of 1-star schools from 29 to 15. Meanwhile, only nine of the 148 schools (6 percent) measured recorded a decrease in the number of stars earned. 

In recent years, City Schools has implemented critical efforts to gain improvements most notable in the star results, including tutoring efforts to improve literacy and math proficiency, implementing individualized Student Learning Plans, increasing summer learning offerings, and organizing a redesigned Office of Student Success to support college and career readiness.  

Chronic Absenteeism  

In Maryland, the chronic absenteeism rate identifies the proportion of students absent 10 percent or more of school days while enrolled at that school.  

Again, City Schools made significant gains. Over 85 percent of the schools measured reduced chronic absenteeism in at least one grade band - 128 of 148. However, because of a change in the scoring of the chronic absence measure, very few schools were able to earn additional points on the report card despite their improvement.  

These gains result from investments such as ensuring each school has an attendance plan, establishing cross-functional attendance teams at 64 schools, and embarking on a citywide effort to encourage regular attendance. Outreach to the community has included phone-a-thons, neighborhood visits by the “City Schools On The Go” bus, home visits, and summer outreach. 

** City Schools is home to 164 schools and centers. Some schools do not receive ratings because they have insufficient data in certain categories.